US cybersecurity
Image credit: Mike Kononov

The US Departments of Energy (DOE), Homeland Security (DHS), and Defense (DoD) have jointly signed a memorandum of understanding to partner on the government’s new Energy Sector Pathfinder initiative.

The goals of this initiative are to advance information sharing, improve training and education to understand systemic risks, and develop joint operational preparedness and response activities to cybersecurity threats.

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The Energy Sector Pathfinder initiative builds on previous Pathfinder initiatives and is exploratory, scoped to address the technologies, challenges, and threats facing a specific critical infrastructure sector adapted to its regulatory environment, maturity, and existing relationship with the US government.

The Energy Sector Pathfinder will explore challenges facing America’s energy critical infrastructure and strengthen interagency collaboration on preventing and responding to the constantly evolving cyber threats.

“Through this agreement, we will strengthen the partnership between DOE, DHS, and DoD to enable intergovernmental cooperation and bolster our ability to proactively address cyber threats to critical energy infrastructure, and to respond effectively should those threats materialize,” said DOE Assistant Secretary of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response, Karen  Evans. “The Department of Energy is committed to working with our partner agencies to secure US critical energy infrastructure.”

“The Department of Homeland Security and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are committed to being partnership-forward organizations… …the lessons learned through this program will help inform the process to develop indicators and warnings across multiple national critical functions, enhance cyber threat information sharing efforts, and facilitate rapid response and improved resiliency across all sectors,” said Bryan Ware, DHS Assistant Director for Cybersecurity at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

According to the DOE, the US’ ability to defend our critical infrastructure are centred around the advanced, realistic exercises conducted by response assets. The Energy Sector Pathfinder program will facilitate collaboration on response playbooks that can be shared with all stakeholders, as well as exercises to stress-test the playbooks and drive capability development.

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